THE YOUTH BRIDGE FOUNDATION (YBF) STATEMENT ON THE FORMATION OF A 21-MEMBER ADVISORY COMMITTEE BY THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION
1. We have noted and do applaud the set up of a 21- Member Eminent Advisory Committee by the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana to facilitate and assist election management and administration in Ghana. The work of the Eminent Advisory Committee, according to the EC, is to inter alia, demystify the work of the Commission; assure its independence; provide a window linkage between the Commission and the public; and ensure that the concerns of the public are channeled to the Commission for redress.
2. This arrangement, though novel and commendable stride in the quest to improve election management in Ghana, unfortunately suffers a setback in terms of inclusivity. It is regrettable that in constituting the Committee, the EC either ignored or neglected the actual composition of the voting and general public of the Ghanaian populace.
3. We at the YBF wish to remind the EC that young people are essentially the composition of the Ghanaian public. Indeed the youth constitute more than 60 percent of Ghana’s population as per available statistics and information from the EC’s own voter register database.
4. The voices of young people can therefore not be relegated to the background in composing such an august Advisory Committee, particularly when part of the Committee’s mandate is to channel the public’s concerns to the EC for redress.
5. We insist that the Ghanaian public is essentially youthful, and given that the current composition of the Eminent Advisory Committee does not typify the characteristics of young people, it would be difficult for the eminent members to adequately reflect the concerns of the public, which are largely the concerns of the youth.
6. People who do not typify the characteristics of the group they represent can certainly not be able to properly serve and project the concerns of their constituents for redress. This is what the ideals of the Resemblance Model of Representation, postulated by Andrew Heywood, espouse.
7. We therefore call on the EC to rethink the current composition of the Eminent Advisory Committee, to make way for at least three to five slots for either youth-serving Civil Society Organizations or youth groups, on the Committee. This in our view, will be the most appropriate way to obtain reliable information with respect to the concerns of the public, for redress by the Commission.
8. Finally we wish to call on the EC to ensure that this arrangement does not contribute to the already high cost of elections in Ghana. Evidence abounds that the cost elections in Ghana is very high compared to many African countries. In 2016 for example, the cost of elections in Ghana was $12 per voter, compared to $9.33 per voter in Nigeria and $5 per voter in Tanzania. Given that the Eminent Advisory Committee members selected are already accomplished members of society, and have already excelled in their respective careers and professions, we call on the EC to ensure that the Committee’s work is made purely, sacrificial for God and country. Their work should not entail the payment of huge sums of monies as sitting allowances, to balloon the already high cost of elections in Ghana.